I'm pretty even-keeled, I think. Yes, I have opinions -- strong ones -- and I express them pointedly. But I think I do so thoughtfully and politely for the most part. But I read an article in Politco on Saturday which really infuriated me, and several days later still does. So much so that I won't link to it.
It began with a tweet from someone who identified himself as a journalist and producer -- and I suspect he is, and with good credits, like ABC and the BBC -- which linked to an article on Politico about a big "investigation" they just concluded. The headline of the piece (and the tweet) was how Bill Clinton used tax dollars to subsidize his foundation and to support those who work there. Pretty damning, so it seemed.
The thing is, if you read the piece, it notes that what the investigation team discovered, "...does not reveal anything illegal."
Let me repeat that last part of the sentence, because it seems to me to be reasonably important. "...does not reveal anything illegal."
Okay, I'm going to remove the quotation marks, so that I can put my own interpretation on the words.
Their "investigation" DOES NOT FREAKING REVEAL ANYTHING ILLEGAL.
Having come up with absolutely nothing, the publication seemingly decided that they had to figure out something to make it appear like their time was justified, and so the next sentence after that about nothing illegal had some mumbo-jumbo on how this does give some sense of how the lines were "blurred" between the Clinton Family Foundation and...well, apparently something else. It wasn't precisely clear what (sort of blurred, you might say), because their stretch did not give a sense of anything blurred. It was legal. Completely legal. In fact, it was even sort of noble.
Consider: this is what Bill Clinton did. He used his own pension to help fund a charity that saves lives around the world.
Every former president is given a substantive pension to make sure that we don't ever have a former Chief Executive living in poverty. It can used to give a financial assistance to help out the president's life. Used for groceries, to go out for dinner, entertain world leaders, pay a home mortgage, pay office rent, buy a nice car to make a good impression, get stylish clothes to maintain a positive image, go on trips around the world to keep up international contacts, support a high-standard lifestyle we might expect of a former president, buy a really cool big-screen TV, build a tennis court with lights and a swimming pool surrounded by cabanas in the back yard, .
Instead, Bill Clinton gave it all to a charity.
And Politico put its crack, ace "investigation team" on the breaking Clinton story and came up with a headline that doesn't say how remarkable and admirable and great this is, what we could hope a former president would do to help the world when out of office...and instead they came up with a freaking headline and freaking spin to make it seem like there was some freaking "problem"!!!!
Even though they themselves wrote that what they actually found -- and let's say it all together now -- "...does not reveal anything illegal."
Meanwhile, the Donald Trump "foundation" is being actually investigated for using its foundation funds to bribe Attorney Generals from a couple of states. As well as that Trump University is in the middle of an actual court case for fraud, and is also being investigated by the State of New York for fraud. And we have several thousand cases of actual lawsuits against Donald Trump and his organization, many for stiffing contractors on money owed that do reveal something illegal.
Meanwhile, we have the Trump campaign with ties to Russian oligarchs, and reports that Donald Trump personally owes tens of millions of dollars to them, if not hundreds, and the reality that his former campaign manager Paul Manafort (remember him?) was a paid agent of Russian oligarchs with so many conflicts attached that the Trump campaign had to let him go because he was causing a big problem for them to answer. And there are reports showing that Trump projects owe massive millions in debt to Chinese banks, which are owned by the Chinese government.
Meanwhile, we have the new Trump campaign director running a publication for white supremacists, and white supremacists holding open press conferences expressing their full support to Donald Trump for holding their values, and Donald Trump's son who is advising his campaign going on white supremacist radio shows, making Holocaust jokes and Holocaust allusions, and re-tweeting graphic memes of white supremacists, all the while claiming he had nooooo idea of all these white supremacist ties, which makes Donald Trump Jr. either the most naive human creature in America, or someone who has already filled out his membership forms.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump still refuses to release any of his income tax returns, all the while giving lies as his excuse which all experts say have zero validity and therefore has begun coming up with different excuses. And gives a 7-second comment about his racist birtherism past with absolutely NO explanation of why he pursued it for five years or why he suddenly changed. And then lied to shift the blame on his opponent. And lied about Hillary Clinton not having any plan on childcare despite a) it clearly being on her website in prominent black-and-white, and b) it being one of the core works of her life for 40 years.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has a business organization with so many twisted ties that it might make it near-impossible to govern without any conflicts of interest should he become president, if you want to actually search for real "blurred" lines, something Newsweek's investigative "team" of Kurt Eichenwald actually investigated and wrote about. Including ties to criminals.
And on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on...
And Politco instead writes an "investigation" about how Bill Clinton gave his entire pension to help found one of the world's most-admired foundations which he created, and try to make it seem like there was something shady, rather than heart-achingly noble, even though they themselves wrote that their snappy "investigation" --
"...does not reveal anything illegal."
There is one thing, though, that the Politico article does reveal that is teeth-gnashingly, head-explodingly and gallingly shameful: what Politico here did.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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